It's hard to remember all the shortcut keys out there.
But luckily, most programs adopt conventions (like Ctrl+S, which always saves what you're working on).
Even better, programmers typically choose shortcut keys mnemonically (again, like Ctrl+S for Save) to make it easier for us to remember.
Below are some of the most common shortcut keys out there, grouped by task.
We've also included some common scenarios to show how keyboard shortcuts can be practically used.
It's a long list, but remember to start small: memorize just 3 shortcut keys that you'll use the most.
|Ctrl+N||Open a new window|
|Ctrl+T||Open a new tab (if your browser supports tabs)|
|Ctrl+W||Close the current window/tab|
|PageUp||Move up a page|
|PageDown||Move down a page|
|Alt+Home||Go to your homepage|
|Alt+D||Move focus to the address bar to type in a URL|
|Ctrl+Enter||Add "http://www." and ".com" around an address|
|MiddleClick||Middle-clicking a tab will close it, even if it's not the active tab|
|Ctrl+B||Bold the selected text bold|
|Ctrl+I||Italicize the selected text italic|
|Ctrl+U||Underline the selected text|
|Ctrl+Backspace||Delete the previous word|
|Ctrl+Del||Delete the next word|
|Ctrl+F||Find some text in the current document|
|Ctrl+Z||Undo your last action|
Pay close attention to these! These shortcut keys can be used in almost all text editors, like Notepad, your instant messaging program, and any text input dialog boxes in Windows.
|PageUp||Move the cursor up a page|
|PageDown||Move the cursor down a page|
|Home||Move the cursor to the beginning of the line|
|End||Move the cursor to the end of the line|
|Ctrl+Home||Move the cursor to the beginning of the document|
|Ctrl+End||Move the cursor to the end of the document|
|Ctrl+←||Move the cursor left one word|
|Ctrl+→||Move the cursor right one word|
The shortcut keys for selecting text are directly related to those that move the cursor around.
Just add a Shift:
|Shift+PageUp||Select everything between the cursor and a page previous|
|Shift+PageDown||Select everything between the cursor and a page after|
|Shift+Home||Select everything between the cursor and the beginning of the line|
|Shift+End||Select everything between the cursor and the end of the line|
|Shift+Ctrl+Home||Select everything betweeen the cursor and the beginning of the document|
|Shift+Ctrl+End||Select everything between the cursor and the end of the document|
|Shift+Ctrl+←||Select the word to the left|
|Shift+Ctrl+→||Select the word to the right|
|Ctrl+C||Copy what's selected|
|Ctrl+X||Cut what's selected|
|Ctrl+V||Paste what you last copied or cut|
|Ctrl+N||Create a new document|
|Ctrl+O||Open an existing document|
|Ctrl+W||Close the current document|
|Ctrl+S||Saves the current document|
|Ctrl+P||Print the current document|
|Alt+F4||Exit the active window|
|Alt+Tab||Switch to the previous active window|
|Alt+Esc||Cycle through all open windows|
|Win+D||Show desktop (hit it again to show windows)|
There are a huge amount of shortcut keys to take advantage of.
Take it slow and learn 3 of these every few days.
I recommend learning Ctrl+S to save files, Ctrl+C to copy what's selected, and Alt+Tab to switch between windows.